By Anita Higman
River North, 2015
After breaking her engagement with a rising politician, Summer Snow is adrift in life and love. Again. Summer's wise grandmother---hoping to help her granddaughter---offers her a list of goals and adventures to fulfill, telling her that she must carry out the list with her long-lost childhood friend, Martin Langtree.
Some of the items on her grandmother's list are---take a hot air balloon ride, build a tree house, sing in public, find a treasure, befriend a dog, learn how to whistle, and kiss someone you love. Martin is happy to help Summer with the list, but unfortunately, his two younger brothers---who are addicted to the lavish lifestyle given to them by their older brother---will do anything to keep Martin from following through with the life-list and falling in love with Summer.
In the end, God helps Martin learn how to deal with his overindulged brothers, and the list of adventures helps Summer to find her true calling in life. She also discovers that her dearest childhood companion, Martin Langtree, who made the ideal friend when they were growing up, could now make the ideal husband.
I have read several of Anita's books and always find them entertaining, often containing a little nugget that challenges or gives me cause for reflection - and Summer's List is no exception. This story has a quirkiness about it, some might say it has a modern-day fairytale or allegory feel - and I find that a refreshingly different quality. Sometimes the dialogue seems a little formal, but the story is very touching overall. Poignant, humorous, bittersweet, heartwarming, uplifting - and with a touch of mystery - Summer's List has a unique flavor that I appreciated.
I don't believe I've ever come across characters quite like Summer and Martin, both of whom I came to quickly care about, but it was Summer's grandmother that I fell in love with. Wisdom comes with age, and Granny had a wealth of godly wisdom, using it to set things in motion that would bring healing, purpose and acceptance to several characters. As an avid reader, I loved her bookshop called Once Upon a Time and the way she made it a lifetime ministry outreach to children.
Martin is kind of awkward, but lovable guy who works for a think tank, and I was pulling for him to apply his problem-solving skills to his dysfunctional family. Anita very skillfully brings classic books into the narrative, one example being how Dracula was Martin's favorite novel growing up because he "enjoyed reading about people who were more messed up than my own family."
Summer comes across as impulsive and a bit fickle at times, yet she is wonderfully generous and kind-hearted, and slowly moves beyond the need for attention. The love and close relationship she has with her grandmother is one of the story's strengths. Referring to an ice storm in the past, Granny described Summer as a woman who "looks beyond the cold to see a miracle."
I loved how a once-broken heirloom vase is used in this story to convey this important spiritual truth: "What was hidden had now become known. What was broken was now - by the grace of God - made whole again."
Summer's List is a gentle, uplifting story that will leave readers feeling good. Recommended to all who enjoy inspirational romance.
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published. She's been a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, traveling to exotic places like Australia, the Alps, and Newfoundland.
Connect with Anita online at anitahigman.com and Facebook.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.